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Tue Oct 27, 2020, 06:33 AM

A "view" from the South Lawn: The constitutional oath

Mark Walsh Courtroom

Posted Tue, October 27th, 2020 12:28 am

A “view” from the South Lawn: The constitutional oath

On Monday morning, after Air Force One landed in Allentown, Pennsylvania, for a campaign event, President Donald Trump was asked by the press pool whether he was planning a White House event to celebrate the presumed confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. ... “Yeah, we’re going to see probably at the White House later on this evening, see how it all works out,” Trump said. “The vote is taking place, and we’ll see how that works out.”

Would it be a large event, he was asked, and was he concerned about … Before the reporter could complete a question about COVID-19, and the Sept. 26 Rose Garden event to unveil Barrett, which was followed by a spate of positive coronavirus tests among those in attendance, including the president, he answered. ... “No, not a large event,” Trump said. “Just a very nice event.”

I arrive at the White House just as the Senate vote has worked out nicely for the president and for Barrett, who is confirmed 52-48 to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Moments after the vote, the Supreme Court Public information Office emails a release announcing that Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the judicial oath to Barrett at the court on Tuesday. ... “Upon administration of that oath, she will be able to begin to participate in the work of the court,” the press release says. I mention the release to the handful of reporters and photographers hanging around the White House press briefing room waiting for this evening’s ceremony.

“So, the oath tonight is just for show?” one photographer asks. ... Well, glad you asked. No, tonight’s oath is not just ceremonial. It is one of the two oaths required for the office. While the chief justice will administer the judicial oath, Justice Clarence Thomas will be administering the constitutional oath. ... I explain to the small group that I wrote about this in some detail in SCOTUSblog in 2017, after Neil Gorsuch was confirmed. I would be happy to send the link, I say. That’s OK, they say.


Tonight, as the president promised, has been a nice event. When Barrett takes that second oath, on Tuesday at the court, she will become the 115th justice of the Supreme Court.


Recommended Citation: Mark Walsh, A “view” from the South Lawn: The constitutional oath, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 27, 2020, 12:28 AM), https://www.scotusblog.com/2020/10/a-view-from-the-south-lawn-the-constitutional-oath/

For Barrett: A "meteoric rise" from respected but little-known law professor.

For conservatives: The "culmination of a decades-long effort to move the ideological balance on the court solidly to the right."

on tonight's confirmation vote:

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